Islam Around the World: Ramadan and a Non-Setting Sun

MoonriseThe Economist recently presented an answer to interesting question: How do Muslims observe Ramadan in places where the sun does not set?

The answer: It depends on who you ask.

Read the full story here.

Ramadan begins with the new moon in the ninth month of the lunar calendar. It moves by 11 days each year in relation to the Gregorian calendar. That means, for those Muslims living nearer the poles of the earth, Ramadan will happen when there is little or no sunset. So how does a Muslim break the fast with no sunset?

“There is no monolithic standard,” Imam Abdullah Hasan of the Neeli mosque in Greater Manchester, Britain, told The Economist. “The beauty of Islam is its flexibility.” Some Muslims use Mecca as their clock, while others keep to a standard 12 hours. And as for Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, a Malaysian astronaut, “Malaysia’s government published a 20-page booklet of guidelines, confirming that astronauts should follow the same prayer and fasting times as the location from which their spacecraft lifted off—in this case, the Baikonur launch pad.”

Ramadan this year begins July 9 and ends August 7.

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